Alison Futrell, PhD

Associate Professor, Roman History
Head, Department of History, The University of Arizona
Portrait of Alison Futrell, PhD


Gaming the Past: History as Time Travel

Sunday, March 12, 5:30 p.m.

Surround Stage

ALISON & PAUL'S CONVERSATION: Gaming the Past: History as Time Travel

See Alison & Paul's Conversation on YOUTUBE:


UArizona History’s pathbreaking collaboration with Age of Empires IV opens new possibilities for creative and meaningful virtual time travel. Combining research and imagination, historical video games allow us to travel through time and space, helping us engage with stories that waken the mind to multiple perspectives and to future pathways of thoughtful and creative exploration. Dive into immersive gaming and rich history with the professors behind the Age of Empires IV Illuminated History Experience. In collaboration with game designers from Microsoft's World's Edge game studio and Relic Entertainment, they bring together immersive gaming and rich history for a new way to understand our shared past.


Alison Futrell earned her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley, specializing in the history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean. Since coming to the University of Arizona, she has developed courses on ancient games, on gender, and on antiquity in film, as well as a graduate pedagogy course. She is the author/editor of Blood in the Arena; The Roman Games; and The Oxford Handbook of Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World; as well as multiple pieces on the ancient Mediterranean in modern popular media. She has served the History Department as Head, as DGS (twice), and as curriculum chair (twice). She is the current Communication and Outreach VP of the Society for Classical Studies and president of the Tucson chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Dr. Futrell is recognized in her field and more broadly as a leading expert on Roman Games and a critical commentator on the uses of the distant past in mass culture. Alison has appeared frequently as an on-camera commentator for documentaries, shorts, and series, most recently for "Colosseum" (an eight-part series on the History Channel); for National Geographic; and for BBC History Extra; holding forth on such topics as gladiators, the Roman arena, Spartacus, Cleopatra, Boudica, Hannibal, and the Bible.